October 1, 2019
October 2019 HyNet Update
Writing this on the day of global climate strike action, we are delighted that the HyNet project has made such significant steps forward over the last year – it is a real project, with real partners, undertaking real engineering to deliver against humanity’s most pressing issue.
More broadly, industry, working with Government, has made real strides forward in developing a policy framework to ensure that there is a commercial mechanism for delivering HyNet and other hydrogen / carbon capture and storage (CCUS) projects across the country.
Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage
The HyNet consortium of Cadent, Progressive Energy, CF Fertilisers, Essar, Peel and the University of Chester were awarded grant funding under the UK Government’s CCUS Innovation Funding earlier this year. This 12-month project to undertake what is known as ‘pre-FEED’ engineering is now well advanced. It is developing engineering solutions for all parts of the system, and, most importantly, is looking at how the system operates in an integrated way – this is a process called ‘Flow Assurance’ and involves complex numerical modelling of the whole end-to-end system. This programme of work will conclude in March 2020 with a report that provides far greater granularity on the system cost and how it will operate. At that point, we will seek to launch the next phase of work, called ‘FEED’, which will last two years and take the project to a Final Investment Decision (FID).
A consortium of Progressive Energy, Johnson Matthey and SNC Lavalin have been undertaking a government funded ‘pre-FEED’ study of the proposed hydrogen production plant, which uses Johnson Matthey’s proprietary technology to produce low carbon hydrogen from natural gas. A location has been identified at which to build up to 3 plants, producing up to 18TWh per year of low carbon hydrogen. The team are currently bidding for funding for the next phase of work, which should be awarded by the end of 2019 – if successful, this will allow the project to develop to the point of being ‘shovel-ready’, with all the engineering complete and ready to start construction.
Industrial Fuel Switching to Hydrogen
Progressive Energy has been leading a Government-funded project with a range of energy intensive industrial partners, including Unilever, Pilkington, Essar, Jaguar Land Rover, Ibstock, Solvay. The aim of this work has been to determine feasibility and demonstration design for converting these sites from natural gas to hydrogen. The team is currently bidding for funding for the next stage of work to undertake practical demonstrations of hydrogen firing at each site. Once the demonstrations are complete, these sites, and a range of others using very similar boilers, heaters, kilns or furnaces, will have sufficient confidence to fully convert to low carbon hydrogen once it becomes available in bulk from the HyNet project.
Progressive Energy, working closely with Cadent, is just commencing a study, funded under the Network Innovation Allowance (NIA), to further develop the design of the HyNet hydrogen distribution network, and, equally importantly, develop its operating philosophy. The integration of the network with storage sites is particularly important, as this gives the necessary level of flexibility to the operation of the system, allowing it to meet heat demand and future demand for flexible power generation.
Many companies in the hydrogen / CCUS sector, including Progressive Energy and Cadent, have been actively involved in working with Government to help develop a policy framework. Through a group called the CCUS Advisory Group (CAG), business models for all aspects of the CCUS value chain were developed and formed the basis for Government’s consultation. The consultation has just closed, and we expect Government to make further announcements on policy later this year.
Much of this work is being undertaken from funds being made available by Government as part of their commitment to decarbonisation. This has become even more important in 2019 with the UK Government’s legislative adoption of a ‘Net Zero’ target by 2050. This requires all aspects of our economy to fundamentally change and HyNet provides an excellent basis for transforming many of the ‘hard to reach’ sectors of our economy.